students in automotive repair class

J-Tech – The Importance of a Wheel Alignment

With Americans spending on average 293 hours in their cars every year, keeping the wheels smoothly turning is pretty important. Not just for a smooth ride but for a myriad of other reasons. We’ve put together the warning signs that may signal your need for an alignment and some of the top reasons for getting your car’s alignment checked on a regular basis.

  1. Car pulls to the left or right while driving.
  2. Tire tread appears to be wearing unevenly or has abnormally worn spots.
  3. Vibration at speeds over 30 mph.
  4. Steering wheel is not straight when you are driving in a straight line and doesn’t return to the center after a turn.

You may not always experience symptoms that indicate your alignment is off so don’t skip the periodic alignment check when you go for an oil change or tire rotation. There are actual tangible benefits such as –

  • Burn less fuel – When your wheels are misaligned, the uneven friction forces the vehicle to work harder and burn more fuel.
  • Wear and tear – Tires that wear unevenly due to bad alignment will need to be replaced before their typical life span. Keeping your wheels aligned will help you get the best bang for your buck.
  • Eco-friendly – Burning less fossil fuel is certainly better for the environment, but so is not having to replace your tires prematurely.
  • Prevents the domino effect – A car’s components work together, so improperly aligned wheels can lead to problems with your brakes, suspension and steering.
  • Safer ride – This is the most important benefit to proper wheel alignment. Driving on icy or wet roads can be dangerous enough without the added risk of poor alignment.

A good rule of thumb is to check your alignment every 6,000 miles or every 6 months. Also be sure to recheck it if you hit something hard like a curb or sail over a speed bump driving too fast.

Are you interested in learning more about automotive repairs in general? If you’ve always wanted to put your interest in vehicles to work for you, check out the Automotive Technology Program at J-Tech Institute. Join the team of J-Tech graduates keeping the wheels turning and helping get people where they’re going every day. Call J-Tech today to learn more.

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